Wednesday, September 17, 2014

When Flood was a Festival for me

Imagine a delightful day on the bank of a river- enjoying its pristine beauty, the snaky-winding curves it creates while flowing tirelessly through the landscape, the various shades of blue it carries, admire the lush green valley on both sides, …like the poet says…..there is no parallel to a lovable mother just like nothing is parallel to the flow of a river.

Come rain in the hills, be ready to see the other dimension of this legend. The soaring waterline, destroying all beauty once it created, people running for their lives from the curse of the nature. Is this the balancing of nature…..price we pay for miss-management of this resource, or the inevitable effect due to human domination in this world, or asking us for more respect?

Yes! This mirror has two faces. But, whatever may be….two kinds of people welcome flood every-year in general. The first are the ones who have been given responsibility by the Govt to control this natural disaster. More often than not take this opportunity to siphon off the money meant for the affected to improve the health of their bank accounts. I still remember one of my friends who is a son of a Flood control & Embankment officer asking his father for a sporty bike…and his father replied that sooner the flood arrives…faster his wish will be fulfilled.

And who is the other kind? Children, who are unable to see too far due to their innocence while their parents taking the enormous pain to ride over this period. Going back to the days, when we used to chase the butterflies by a river, I was in this category…Flood was just like a festival for me those days.

My sweet Dichang river. I used to go with my granny and aunt to take bath, wash cloth, sometimes with my uncle for fishing or just to see our paddy field on the bank of the river. Me and my bro used to take out sweet potatoes, pluck out the peas and relish them looking at the running water, sitting on the anchored boats, counting the buses moving above the bridge…

But, the same river would become extremely ferocious during the summer time, swell as if unable to bear the scorching heat of the earth, and inundate the whole area on her bank. 

Probably I was in class II. Whenever there were some discussions in the village about impending flood, some kind of excitement, delight I used to have. I would plan about things to do after my school hours, going with my uncle to see villages where water level was fast rising, join with neighbours to do fishing, watch people trying to catch floating wooden blocks, enjoy the ride on the banana tree boat. My village was on little highland so, I had a small anguish as it used to be the last one to get submerged in the flood.

I would join my dad to visit relief camps, but both used to have different agendas. He would sympathize other villagers and acquaintances while I enjoy looking at people making the tents on the highways, kids of my age playing marble games, football etc.; I used to feel jealous. Great to see so many cattle together! Food items and cloths were distributed. The ladies used to cook beside the tents, and serve warm food to all the family members, as if it was a picnic spot. Political big heads, govt. officers with their greedy minds used to visit the place frequently. Some ladies used to cry continuously…but alas! I didn’t understand why they were crying! Just used to enjoy the crowd, looking at the nature’s changes!!!

I used to get up early with an excitement to see water, water everywhere….all the nearby places engulfed by Dichang. My mom and aunt used to worship the river requesting her to calm down, not to be so cruel. But, silently I used to request her not to go away…..and be there for some more time.

I used to enjoy flood like Durga Puja till I was class IV, while I started reading out books, listen to the radio news, or understand my parents or others conversation what kind of pain flood brings.

My innocent childhood used to say – “Flood, Flood, Come again”, now with all my heart, I say, “Flood, Flood, never come again…”

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

School days will never come back, but memories are!

Nobody comes into this world with pre-loaded thoughts and ideas ….All we have with us by now are being accumulated during our course of gradual learning, starting from caring hands and advices from parents, self-encounters, some plucking outs of others experience and most importantly from the ever proven age old system of our beloved school days – our honorable teachers, though the list never ends...

Recalling school days, I am sure all of us have our unique experiences, encounters and stories to tell, as we started to rub our shoulders to the man-made systematic approach with each passing year. These stories become more interesting in High schools as we bid adieu to our childhood and step-in to a new hormonal world…!
Let me share some slices out of my peppery piece. You might find a bit of taste of your own spices to rejuvenate yourselves…:) 

A tale of 100 cows & one tiger:

Decades back…

It was 1990…..probably July month, just coming back from the vacation…..Classes started after half yearly exams. Our teachers started returning us the copies, announcing our marks in front of the whole class.

Was not getting too bad marks in most of the subjects…!!! :)

Assamese Class.  Aaijani Baideo would return the copies today. Extremely calm and serene personality Baideo was! We all first benchers, who had frisky instincts, used to become the last benchers for her class…..

Baideo started announcing the scores one by one….

Suddenly she said, “Madhumita! How many cows you killed…???” Immediately, I caught the question! I replied, "Baideo, I could not kill more than 20 cows in one go because of time and space constraints". She just smiled and returned the copy to me. I got 23 out of 50! :(
In the exam, actually I had to explain the Assamese idiom, “If a tiger kills 100 cows, one day he will also die!” – meaning “If you are playing with danger frequently, then it is just the matter of time, you will have to face its consequence”.  

I started explaining – “In a village, there was a farmer. He had 100 cows. There was a dense jungle nearby….Once a tiger came and killed a cow. After getting the good taste, he came back again to the cow-shed next very day. Third day, the tiger came again and killed the third cow...fourth day, he killed the fourth cow, fifth day the fifth cow, sixth day the sixth, seventh day seventh, eight day eight.....”  
….Phewww!!!.....Two pages were already filled with twenty cows..! So many pages and so much of time I would need to write about all 100 cows!!! I was panic for a while, what to do, how to handle……….

Suddenly, my brain said, "Idea!!! ". I played a trick to give a quick finish....Yes! I directly started with 95th cow again....

So, 95th , 96th , 97th , 98th …and finally, “while the tiger killed the 99th cow, the farmer was ready with all sharp weapons to kill the tiger, he called all the villagers and waited for the tiger in the dark…and the tiger didn’t realize that only one more catch he was left with...” ….And that’s why I scored 23! Information ran directly to my big boss somehow…and beautiful sweet and bitter moments were waiting at home!!!

Climbing the Coconut tree to search few seeds of Maths

How can I forget that I had drawn the most beautiful sketch of my life – “A Coconut tree” in Deva sir’s Maths test while he asked us to draw Perpendicular bisector using geometrical instruments!

Yes, in the test, I was little puzzled....what was going on....I wondered around for a while, peeped at my nearby looked as if they were drawing some Banana tree/ Coconut tree (you know, something cross kind of curves on the top of a vertical line)....I thought how inefficient they were… why they required geometrical instrument for drawing that.....may be to avoid buttery hands. I was good at art works (something I feel, came naturally to me by the grace of GOD), hence decided to give it a shot with my bare hands....Felt little chest up. Huh...! Let me show you how to do it..... Finally, I possibly crafted out the best Coconut Tree ever in my life in my exam interpretation of Perpendicular bisector.

Moral coaching at my front yard

To gain something, first take some pain….These little moments do have its reflections in my life and certainly have empowered me to face the world.

Recently we had shifted from Margherita to Teok.

My first class test of Nirada baideo’s Moral Science, where I got 3 out of 20! Coming home, I threw the copy behind the refrigerator in the kitchen. I was bindaas after that, as I was sure that even God would also not get that copy easily.  

In the evening, I was lying in the veranda, singing few hit Hindi movie songs one after another, probably “Zubi Zubi Zubi zu zu Zubi Zubi Zubi..”, “I am a disco dancer...”, “Aap jaisa koi mere zindegi me aaye..” etc. Suddenly two ladies came to our home……I recognized one, she was none other than my lovely Nirada baideo cum our new neighbour. 

As a result, after sometime, I found myself in the front yard which was full of grass…..kneeling down, holding my ears, with a fear of leech in every second, till the time my dad got calm down.

Approval of first Love letter (by Principal sir!!!)

Received my first love letter from someone….Excited ??? Yes, I was, but only to hand over to our Principal Sir – Sida Baruah, even without reading myself....

Hardly the bearer of the letter could imagine what was waiting for her….Hell broke on her for being the catalyst!!!…

Never-feel-like-missing the extremely interesting classes of Niren Sir, Ratneswar Sir, Minati Baideo, Uttara baideo, Mridula Baideo, Manjula Baideo…! Picnic to Kaziranga wearing Mekhela chadar!!! Participating in music competitions where I usually used to forget the wordings in between!

The years of giggling, laughter, gossips, friendship, jealousy….where teacher imparted us the lessons of life…scolded on our mistakes, encouraged and motivated us on every occasion, taught us how to respect others, and encouraged to move in life.

These are never come back moments, I know…but given a chance, I want to slurp the nectar of those lovely days once again, extract the euphemism of twittering with my lovely friends sitting in the last benches, attending extremely interesting classes of honorable teachers, inscribing hearts and carving initials on the school desks and what’s not!

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